________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 15. . . .December 10, 2010


Sending You Sammy.

Sarah Butland.
Moncton, NB: ProSpec Industries (www.SarahButland.com), 2006.
42 pp., pbk., $11.66.
ISBN 0-9781238-0-8.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

* /4


Sending You Sammy is a confusing amalgam of disjointed episodes whose ultimate purpose is to get across the message to young children that they should all eat a more healthy diet, especially one that sees their consumption of junk food decline and be replaced by a greater intake of fruit and vegetables.

     On his 10th birthday, Sam decides to have a healthy birthday party, one that replaces chips with grapes, candy with watermelon and pop with juice. The traditional birthday cake and ice cream becomes a fruit salad, and the party game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey is replaced by bobbing-for-apples.

      When Sammy goes to his room after the party and opens his closet, out pops a "magician" who tells Sammy that he has been tapped to become a superhero, BananaBoy, who gets to wear, naturally, a banana yellow costume. Sammy's first task as BananaBoy is to visit his friend, Jason, who hasn't been eating many healthy foods. Specifically, BananaBoy’s job is to change Jason’s eating habits. Although Jason’s eating healthier foods at Sammy’s party was seen to be a good beginning, he needs to maintain an ongoing healthier diet. Consequently, in his superhero costume, Sammy/BananaBoy goes over to Jason's house and up to Jason's bedroom and gives him a pep talk about the advantages of electing a healthier diet, advantages that include doing better in school and gym classes because of having increased energy. As Jason is illustrated as being overweight, an implied benefit is that he'll also lose weight. The next day, Jason can only remember a vague dream involving a banana’s having been in his room. Nonetheless, Jason does modify what he eats and does experience the changes the banana said would occur. And the book ends with the magician telling Sammy that he will return in a few days with BananaBoy's next task.

      The story’s cartoon-like illustrations make what are supposed to be 10-year-olds look more like six-year-olds, and the way the children's eyes are illustrated makes them look more scary than friendly.

      Neither the text nor the illustrations recommend Sending You Sammy as a purchase.

Not recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, who is CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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